Crime & Courts

Accused of attempted sex abuse of teen, former Alaska state trooper now faces child pornography charges

Former Alaska State Trooper Vance Peronto, who in April was arrested on a charge of attempted sexual assault of a minor after he showed up for a hotel date he had set up with a 16-year-old, now faces eight additional felony charges, including possession of child pornography.

Peronto, 57, was indicted by an Anchorage grand jury Thursday on nine counts: attempted sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree, four counts of unlawful exploitation of a minor and four counts of child pornography.

Peronto was arrested April 29 when he showed up at a hotel expecting to meet a teenager he first encountered while on the job. Troopers and an Anchorage SWAT team took him into custody.

[Alaska state trooper showed up in patrol car for hotel date with girl, charges say]

Earlier in April, prosecutors say, Peronto had pulled the girl over for driving without her headlights on in Kenai. He didn't write her a ticket and let her go without a warning.

The next morning, Peronto messaged the girl on Facebook. They soon began sending messages that became flirtatious and eventually, prosecutors say, "very explicit."

Thursday's indictment centers on four videos and pictures of the underage girl that Peronto had in his possession April 11, prosecutors say. Peronto is charged with a count of unlawful exploitation of a minor and child pornography for each explicit image.

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Peronto was no longer a state employee as of May 2, the Alaska Department of Public Safety said.

[Attempted sexual abuse charges against trooper highlight 2014 investigation for inappropriate texts]

Peronto's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment. He is scheduled to appear in court May 29. He faces a maximum sentence of 99 years.

Laurel Andrews

Laurel Andrews was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Dispatch News and Alaska Dispatch. She left the ADN in October 2018.

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